What does the face of a player look like after he just scored his first career NHL playoff goal, which goes on to be the game-winner?
Here's your answer:
Paul Stastny's goal in the third period was just the third and final shot the Avs would take in the third period but it would turn out to be all they needed. Along with goals from Andrew Brunette and Wojtek Wolski (both of which were on the power play), the Avalanche won the game 3-2.
The real story, however, was the play of Jose Theodore, who stopped 38/40 shots including 17 in the first period. The Avs were outshot 40-17 in the game, but Theodore's 10 saves on 11 shots during Wild power plays helped keep Colorado in it. Highlights including stoning Gaborik several times, keeping Minnesota's super star pointless in the series.
The Avs really came out with a fire in the third period, taking it to the Wild's offensive zone immediately. Although they only fired three shots in the period, they buckled down on defense very well - Minnesota registered just eight shots, as opposed to the fifteen and seventeen they put up in prior periods.
Quenville mix-and-matched lines a bit during the final period, but expect Forsberg-Stastny-Hejduk and Wolski-Sakic-Brunette to stay together for the next game.
On defense, much praise goes out to Adam Foote who was Colorado's minute muncher (25:25) and Ruslan Salei - both of whom have been shutting down Gaborik all series long.
It's also worthy to note that not one Avalanche defenseman took a penalty in this game.
Three Stars of the Game
1. Jose Theodore (Score could have easily have been 5-0 after the first)
2. Paul Stastny (First goal, couldn't have picked a better time)
3. Peter Forsberg (Two assists, skating/checking well)
The Avs will try to end the series on SATURDAY at 10:00 PM EST. The game will be played in Colorado, making this a golden chance for the Avs to send the Wild home.
Last Night...In The Playoffs
(2) San Jose defeated (7) Calgary
4-3 (San Jose Leads Series 3-2)
(5) Dallas defeated (4) Anaheim
3-1 (Dallas Leads Series 3-1)
(8) Boston defeated (1) Montreal
5-1 (Montreal Leads Series 3-2)
(6) Philadelphia defeated (3) Washington
4-3 (2OT) (Philadelphia Leads Series 3-1)
Tonight...In The Playoffs
(1) Detroit vs (8) Nashville
Game 5 - 7:30 PM EST - VERSUS
Series Tied 2-2
(4) Anaheim vs (5) Dallas
Game 5 - 10:30 PM EST - VERSUS
Dallas Leads Series 3-1
(4) New Jersey vs (5) New York
Game 5 - 7:30 PM EST
New York Leads Series 3-1
Try To Watch
Both games on Versus tonight are worth watching.
In Detroit, Chris Osgood has been named the starter for Game 5 after two mediocre efforts from Dominick Hasek. This is Osgood's first game in the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, however, he was #1 in GAA this season in the NHL while winning 29 games for the Wings. Nashville has won the last two games in the series.
In Anaheim, the defending champs will try to avoid elimination by holding off the Dallas Stars tonight. For Avalanche fans, I think the majority would much rather see Dallas stay in the playoffs than the Ducks. I'll be rooting for the Stars in that one.
The following teams are one game away from elimination:
(4) New Jersey
First Team Eliminated
The Pittsburgh Penguins capped off a sweep of the Ottawa Senators, ending a nightmare second half of the season for the Sens. Reports today state that Ray Emery will not return to the team next year.
Here's is Paul Stastny's beautiful 180 move near the crease.